If you live in Toronto you probably either a) have already eaten at Fresh restaurant and love it, or b) always hear your plant eating friends raving about their latest meal at Fresh. It’s the vegan restaurant to go to in Toronto. I’ve been there once before and didn’t love my dish, but I hear there are much better ones on the menu. I hope to go their again, but in the meantime I’m content with just cooking some of its dishes from its Refresh cookbook.
Today I’ve chosen to review it for the next post in my cookbook review series:
Refresh is a vegan cookbook, and it’s centered around whole grains, vegetables, sprouts, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy protein. I’d say it’s Asian-inspired with lots of rice bowls and noodle recipes, but it also has salads, brunch foods, smoothies, and more. It’s my go-to cookbook when I need a healthy boost!
Things I like about the Refresh cookbook
- Its recipes are directly from the restaurant’s menu, so you can exactly replicate them!
- It’s a great resource for sauce, dressing, and marinade recipes
- The ingredients are all fairly easy to find in most grocery stores
Things I don’t like about the Refresh cookbook
- The recipes can be very time consuming to make, since there are often multiple marinades/sauces involved in one recipe
- Some of the recipes have large yields, so I find myself having to half or even quarter the recipes when I make them
Recipes I’ve tried from Refresh
1. Green goddess bowl: Brown rice / steamed greens / nori / marinated tofu / lemon tahini sauce
This is my favourite dish from the cookbook – the flavours are amazing! It takes a while to make though, since you have to make a marinade for the tofu, a tamari dressing for the steamed greens, and the lemon tahini sauce.
2. Mega life salad: Mixed greens / shredded carrots and beets / sprouts / mixed nuts and seeds / marinated tofu
This is a such a light, fresh dish and I love the shredded veggies in it! I used the cookbook’s green dressing for it, which paired nicely with the flavours.
3. California salad: Mixed greens / pesto white beans / cherry tomatoes / hearts of palm / avocado
This salad was good, but it didn’t blow me away. I love their idea to mix white beans with pesto for some added flavour though.
4. Fresh granola: Rolled oats / nuts and seeds / dried fruit
If you’re looking for a granola that is very healthy and low in sugar, this is it. It’s only sweetened with apple juice and the tiniest bit of maple syrup, so it’s not very sweet at all. I appreciate the healthiness of this recipe, but I have to admit I found this granola pretty bland and won’t be making it again.
5. Dragon rice bowl: Brown rice / grilled zucchini and tomato / marinated tofu / miso gravy
I think this was my least favourite of the recipes I tried. The grilled tomato was messy, the miso gravy was only okay, and the flavours weren’t that great together. I won’t replicate this dish again, but I might play around with the miso gravy to come up with a better flavour.
There are still a ton of other recipes from this book that I want to try, like their famous Buddha rice bowl with a peanut sauce (I would sub in sunflower seed butter), split pea soup, and their house made veggie burger. Stay tuned for my reviews of these recipes on Instagram once I try them out!
Looking for more cookbook review posts? Make sure to check these out:
Locals – have you ever been to Fresh? Non locals – have you ever been to a similar restaurant?